MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines expressed dismay at CNN Philippines’ move to lay scores of its staffers off amid an allegedly vengeful and bigoted government.
“It is bad enough that the firings come at a time when Philippine journalism needs all hands on deck as it comes under increasing pressure from vindictive and intolerant government and fends off a growing wave of populist disinformation, official or otherwise, while media workers face worsening threats, old and emerging,” the NUJP said in a statement issued Friday.
It was reported earlier that at least 60 CNN employees, mostly from the production department, had been dismissed from work through a termination letter dated January 11.
The union said that “based on information reaching us, it appears we have yet to see the end of these terminations, carried out in the name of “rightsizing,” “downsizing” and the other terms used in a vain attempt to sanitize the wholesale displacement of the employed and the increasing trend towards contractualization in media.”
“It is doubly unfortunate that the mass terminations underscore the fact that the Philippine media appear to have largely abandoned the public service aspect of their mandate – information and education – for the pursuit of the bottomline,” the NUJP said.
“It is, alas, a trend we have seen growing through the years as more and more media workers are faced with less and less opportunities for regular employment and the benefits this brings and the exigencies of profit lead to a growing “dumbing down” of the news and the increasing prominence of ‘infomercials’ and ‘infotainment’,” it added.
The NUJP threw its support behind the dismissed CNN employees, saying it would be ready to “offer…whatever assistance” it could extend to them.
“At the same time, we call for unity among our ranks. Let us organize ourselves to protect our rights as media workers while continuing to remain devoted to the tenets of our profession,” the union said.
Also, the organization urged media owners and managements “not to throw away the heart and soul of an industry that has in no small way helped preserve and advance democracy in the country by making available to our people the information they need to come to educated decisions about their individual and collective futures.”